Monday, May 31, 2010


I have removed the cbox or chatbox in this blog because I could not stand any longer the advertising of products coming from Taiwan and other countries, regaling me with marketing extravaganza that won’t even work to men of the lowliest IQ’s. This is also a step to further minimize the visits of people who merely step in the site and comment in the box with a silly “Hey, nice blog, care to ex-links?” I have enough of that one too.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

the four-hundredth post with six words

Six Words
by Lloyd Schwartz






never . . .



yes no
maybe sometimes
always never.


In my search for inspiring sestinas, highly-structured poems having their heyday back in the twelfth century, I stumble upon this work. Imagine the inventiveness! It’s as if I am stoned with a hollow block and all I could say is “uh-waw.” It leaves me dumbstruck.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

new academic heads of silliman university

Silliman University (Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental) has issued appointments to new academic heads for three school years, starting school year 2010-2011. The University underwent a rigid selection process that involved nominations, consultations on the academic unit level, screening by a committee composed of different sectors in the University, including the alumni, headed by Vice President for Academic Affairs, and an endorsement to and a confirmation by the Board of Trustees.

The following are the new academic heads effective June 1, 2010:

Dr. Jose Edwin C. Cubelo
Dean, College of Agriculture

Dr. Margaret Helen U. Alvarez
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Prof. Jane Annette L. Belarmino
Dean, College of Business Administration

Prof. Dave E. Marcial
Dean, College of Computer Studies

Dr. Muriel O. Montenegro
Dean, Divinity School

Dr. Earl Jude Paul L. Cleope
Dean, College of Education

Dr. Tessie A. Cabije
Dean, College of Engineering and Design

Atty. M. Mikhail Lee L. Maxino
Dean, College of Law

Dr. Ma. Cecilia M. Genove
Dean, College of Mass Communication

Dr. Jonathan C. Amante
Dean, Medical School

Prof. Florenda F. Cabatit
Dean, College of Nursing

Dr. Elizabeth Susan V. Suarez
Dean, College of Performing Arts

Prof. Carlos M. Magtolis, Jr.
Dean, Office of Student Affairs

Dr. Ma. Teresita Sy-Sinda
Dean, Graduate Program

Dr. Reynaldo Y. Rivera
Dean, School of Public Affairs and Governance

Dr. Edna Gladys T. Calingacion
Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Prof. Teodora A. Cubelo
Director, Institute of Clinical Laboratory Sciences

Dr. Lynn L. Olegario
Director, Institute of Rehabilitative Sciences

Prof. Francisco E. Ablong, Jr.
Director, School of Basic Education

Dr. Nichol R. Elman
Director, Extension Program

Dr. Enrique G. Oracion
Director, Research and Development Office

Dr. Pablito A. Dela Rama
Director, Instruction Office

Information taken from the university's official website.

Monday, May 24, 2010

17th iligan national writers workshop fellows

The 17th Iligan National Writers Workshop (INWW) opens today at the MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology Mini-Theater. Twelve writing fellows were selected for this year’s INWW. They are:

Bernardo Miguel Aguay Jr., Calabanga, Camarines Sur (Filipino)
Paul A. Castillo, University of Santo Tomas (Filipino)
Roberto Klemente R. Timonera, MSU-IIT (English)
Gratian Paul R. Tidor, MSU-IIT (Cebuano)
Herminigildo M. Dico, MSU-IIT (Cebuano)
Jona B. Bering, University of San Carlos (Cebuano)
Nemesio S. Baldesco, Lamiraw, Calbayog City (Waray)

Jayson E. Parba, Capitol University (English)
Kyra Camille C. Ballesteros, Ateneo de Manila University (English)
Romulo P. Pena, UP Diliman (Filipino)
Reynaldo A. Villaruz, Colegio de la Purisima Concepcion (Hiligaynon)

Anili F. Butcon, Xavier University (English)

The 17th INWW panelists are Antonio Enriquez, Leoncio P. Deriada, Merlie M. Alunan, Victor N. Sugbo, German V. Gervacio and Steven PC Fernandez. This year’s keynote lecturer is Lawrence Ypil, and workshop director, Christine Godinez-Ortega.

Major sponsors this year include the MSU-IIT Chancellor’s Office and Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research & Extension; the National Book Development Board; the NCCA Speakers Bureau; the Manuel E. Buenafe Writing Fellowship; JY Balacuit Memorial Awards; and writers groups, schools, past panelists and INWW alumni who donated cash and in kind so the workshop could be held this year.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

top-of-the-head response to a novel: ilustrado by miguel syjuco

After an arduous read, I've finished Ilustrado, the Man Asia Literary Prize Winning novel by Filipino writer Miguel “Chuck” Syjuco, in two weeks. Yes, arduous because the work is a compendium of fragmented pieces of prose, contemporary or not: newspaper articles, interviews, blog comments, short story and novel excerpts, and even text messages. And yes, two weeks, because I read slow. And I have a day job. With that being said, I am surprisingly entertained by its chatty, sometimes lyrical tone, with words I do not even think are present in my dictionary.

But that was it: just entertained. The wide scope of sociopolitical-family drama carefully set up in the beginning, along with the needed nuances of humor snippets in between, did not pull in that much gratifying denouement. I closed the book and, like everyone else who read it first, said: “Now what?!”

It dawned on me that if I would like to be entertained, I would grab an Archie Comics digest or, to be more Filipinized, the latest compilation of Kikomachine comic strips by Manix Abrera. But I did not pull from the shelf either of the two. I picked up Ilustrado. I am not sure; maybe I am just expecting something grander, something more revolutionary than that epilogue. Or maybe I love it very much I do not want to see/feel the literariness stumble in the end. Then again, I am not the author. Go purchase the book, Philippine literature needs your insight. Have your own reaction.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

grab this week's philippines free press now

Yes, the one with the faces of people running for Philippine presidency this year, buy that in the nearest magazine or newspaper stands. It won’t hurt your wallet, it is worth P50 only. Leaf through the magazine until the last page, and there you are, discover the reason for this ultimately shameless plug on this corner of the blogosphere:

My poem “Traffic” is published alongside the works of Jan Paulo Bastareche, Alfred Casipong, and Bron Teves, and a piece of fiction by
Dean Francis Alfar. If literature is not for you, well, just wallow in the editorial pages and other articles for your desired consumption. Thanks.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

no longer safe

I have always read online privacy issues in all forms of media, with the recent being this article entitled “Tell-All Generation Learns to Keep Things Offline”, but the days, like the rest of the days, simply move on their usual route. The possibility of me stumbling into a trap of cyber clandestine issues, I consider, is laughable. Until today.

One centralized department email account in our office is suddenly receiving numerous messages from different employees, from different departments of the company: confidential memos directed to the president, conversations on delays of progress reports, gossips on absences, and even my planned trip to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. My trip to Pagudpud! The last one made my heart skip a beat. Even our IT personnel are dumbfounded. Automatically retracing all the conversations made in my email account, my mind hits a ringing realization: with computers (especially the internet) nothing is really private.

This episode may only be a problem within our company’s computer systems, for now, but in all likelihood, our everyday Google or Yahoo could go bonkers sooner or later. With this being said, let us be careful with what we are saying (or posting). You know, words are sharper when they are out of their sheaths.

Monday, May 10, 2010

something that came up on election day

Heard Before

You heard it before:
the whorls of our fingers
construct a convoluted maze
where our feet trace the fate
of our country’s face.

You heard it before:
promises are meant to be broken
like shells of the pearls of the orient
crushed under the bellies of crocodiles
promises of turning the crows white.

You heard it before:
mercy is in our fingertips
or the carpals of our hands
or the intermetatarsals of our feet
with the help of spikes digging our skin.

You heard it before:
science has a way
of explaining matters
no wise man of the wisest
can enlighten with the birth of stars.

You heard it before:
there is no such thing as the wisest
not even that man hung in beads
hung in rear-view mirrors of taxis
With radios turned on an afternoon soap.

You heard it before:
Precinct volunteers in T— City threatened with gunshots
Brownout hits D— City… PCOS machines not working
Teachers ran out of indelible ink… G— Mall bombed, three dead
Drama Actress, handa sa paglabas ng sinasabing sex scandal!


words taken from the top of my head after hearing news about his brothers being threatened with gun shots early this morning, when they spotted some men trying to mark voters waiting in line with indelible inks way before they can get hold of their ballots.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

for mother

A mother is a desert,
the sway of her hips
the changing hills of sand,
as days rise and fall,
curves shift from slopes to dunes,
sometimes warm,
sometimes parched;

a mother is a desert,
cupping an oasis
no mirage
can ever fool.

May 09/10 (10:59am)

No one could carry so much love other than a mother.

This isn’t exactly an argument on which role of parenthood does best, since this will only beat the bush like determining which comes first, the hen or the egg. The very bottom line of that premise is this:

Our mothers bring us all into this world. Just imagine such responsibility.

That is why in as early as the days of ancient Greece mothers are esteemed in highest regards, festivals being commemorated for her. Through time, the importance of a mother finally finds its day of celebration indelibly marked on the second Sunday of May in almost all calendars across the globe.

But being a mother is no easy job. Aside from giving up her curves, she endures all forms of pain from the birthing of a child to the last aching sight of a grocery list. The coming and going of her children must also be one of the most trying times in her life, but like everything else, she handles this with grace and endurance. Beyond the usual façade of vulnerability is a character of strong will.

Whether this day does or doesn’t have any special bearing to some people, there’s no denying that there are many days for men and about men, accounting to the numerous holidays of our heroes and won wars. That’s why on this day, let us show our gratitude to our mothers for bringing us into this world, for giving us a chance to love them the way they love us through the years.

To all mothers, mommies, mamas, and nanays, thank you.

Monday, May 03, 2010

how writing grows: after the 10th iyas creative writing workshop

I was excited being the first to arrive at 6:30am in Balay Kalinungan at La Salle Bacolod two Sundays ago, and all of a sudden, cheerless next being the last to leave the place, seeing people you’ve grown to like packing their bags and leaving the doors with a hesitant wave inside their taxis. It was a sad image, recycled over and over in my head.

Like any gathering such as the 10th Iyas Creative Writing Workshop held last April 25-May 1, leaving each other’s familiar presence is but the final untold session of all: the parting tests the strength of bond.

For practicing writers, this bond is what keeps the craft going: the exchanges of ideas, the developments of verses, the first drafts of stories, or simply the never-ending swaps of rumors, both humorous and not.

I hope my co-fellows—Anne Abad, Elsed Tongonon, Gino Francis Dizon, Jesus Insilada, Vernan Jagunap (for fiction), Alyza Taguilaso, Arbeen Acuña, Gian Paolo Lao, Glenn Muñez, Noel Fortun, Paul Gumanao, Roselle Ibabao, Sim Gadugdug, Charmaine Luzano, and Rogerick Fernandez (for poetry)—will soon realize this. But I am sure they will.

Humility aside, I have been to two writing workshops already (one in Dumaguete and another in Iligan) and I can attest that constant communication with fellow like-minds brings out the best of anyone. And being in the tenth installment of Iyas, thereby approximately affirming and reaffirming the birth of a hundred or so budding writers in the country, is one proof that that really is no lie.

In retrospect, I came in prepared for the workshop, considering that this would be my third, but the keen insight and dissecting skills of Dr. Elsa Coscolluela, Dr. Danilo Francisco M. Reyes, Dr. Anthony Tan, Dr. Dinah Roma-Sianturi, Dr. Genevieve Ansenjo, and Prof. John Iremil Teodoro—our formidable panelists of varying literary discipline—never fail to resonate the fact that I was there to learn, to be immersed in their knowledge and talent that could blow anyone’s mind away.

Though all fellows had their fair share of the spotlight in the workshop sessions, special mention should still be made to the fellows for the regional languages (Hiligaynon, Kiniray-a, Cebuano, and Boholano). Their showcase of promising discipline, mastery of language and technique put more weight on the fact that talent and the ability to relay an insight no matter what locality it is based from do not revolve around the English and Tagalog languages only.

And here’s another reminder: No matter how far you’ve gone, with Iyas, the seed that promises a canopy of wisdom and a trunk for the pillars of our future praises, there’s always room for improvement.

To all fellows, I’d like to say that writing and its results are like taking care of a bonsai—to see its startling beauty, one must endure the aching and hard steps of trimming, bending, wiring and rewiring.

Since all beautiful things start with a seed, it is only fitting that by the time we see the point of going back to revising our entries in the workshop, if time permits, let us pull our manuscripts from the envelope, study the branching comments that peek out from a sentence, the erasures that seem tentative in their repose in one specific verse, and keep the writing grow.

That is how our writing will grow.